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Armed robber Lyndon Stein jailed for minimum of 13 years
3:58pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
AN ARMED robber described as a “one man crime wave” thanked the judge as he was led to the cells to start a 13 year sentence.
Lyndon Stein was warned that it will be up to the Parole Board when he will eventually be released.
The 49-year-old was finally caught in Newton-le-Willows following a seven week spree across the country, including St Helens.
Stein had walked out of an open prison in Buckinghamshire in April and while on the run carried out a series of armed raids.
When he was finally arrested, he told police that he had been due for release and didn’t feel he would be able to cope in society.
Stein, formerly of Newton-le-Willows pleaded guilty to 13 robberies and attempted robberies and 12 offences of possessing an imitation firearm or offensive weapon and also escape.
Anya Horwood, prosecuting, told the court that Stein has previous convictions and received a life sentence for public protection with a minimum term of five years in Bristol in February 2006 for five armed robberies.
He would use a metal tube, tree branch or pole wrapped in a bag and claiming it was a gun.
Miss Horwood said that after a series of raids down south he moved up north, robbing a Co-op in Newton-le-Willows on May 15.
As in previous robberies he handed over a carrier bag and demanded cash. He ordered terrified staff to open the safe and told one woman employee, “get down there or I’ll blow a hole in you.”
However when one employee went to press the alarm Stein ran off and later the same day also had to flee Thomsons Travel Agents in Ashton-in-Makerfield empty handed. But less than three hours later he robbed Lloyds Bank in Warrington of £4,485.
After an unsuccessful raid on a bank in Gloucester and a £3,227 robbery at Thomas Cook in Bristol he returned to the North West and made off with £5634 from Heron Foods in Newton on May 24 after telling staff, “I won’t have to shoot you if you put the money in the bag.”
A week later employees at a bureau de change in Blackpool handed over about £10,000 after Stein, who had an accomplice, threatened to shoot them. He stole a further £1,100 after robbing the Santander bank in Fingerpost on June 11.
The assistant initially thought his demands for cash were a joke, before spotting what appeared to be a gun in a plastic bag.
As well as stealing the cash, he snatched £400 from a woman customer’s hand.
Stein, who was “very agitated and high on adrenaline” pushed her back, took the money, and fled.
His final raid took place five days later at a Spar store in Newton at around 10pm. After chillingly saying to the assistant “you know who I am don’t you?” he pulled out a knife and ordered him to open the till.
As he marched staff to the safe at the back of the shop one of the women could feel the blade of the knife against her right hip.
Miss Horwood added: “As he left he said ‘You’ll see me in the paper next week’.” As with previous raids he was clearly identified on CCTV and his fingerprints were also found.
Judge Denis Watson, QC, told Stein, “It seems to me you selected these targets of the robberies with care. They were usually, not always, female members of staff, sometimes working alone, often with another member of staff. They are vulnerable and some of the premises had very little security if any.
“Chilling threats were made on occasion and although you did not disguise yourself with the use of balaclavas or masks you did sometimes wear a coat, hat and gloves in an attempt to make detection of these crimes more difficult visually or forensically.”
As Stein was led to the cells he said: “cheers judge.”
Adam Walker defending explained Stein had struggled to cope with the regime at the open prison: “He didn’t have the willpower to remain there and went on the spree interspersed with heavy drug taking. This was effectively a request to go back to prison.”
Detective Inspector Andy Milligan said: “Today Lyndon Stein has been sentenced to 13 years after pleading guilty to four counts of armed robbery in the St Helens area.
“Robberies, such as these, are not victimless crimes and the staff members involved in these incidents were left extremely distressed by their ordeals. I hope that today’s sentencing brings them a sense of justice.
“Merseyside Police, with partners in other forces, worked tireless to find Stein so he could be brought to justice. I hope that his imprisonment sends out a message to the public and to others involved in criminality, that we will not rest until those involved in criminality are taken off our streets.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the partners, including Crown Prosecution Services for their hard work in bringing about this conviction and sentence. I would also like to thank the local community for their assistance - we received a number of calls from the community when we were seeking Stein 's whereabouts."